Traders supply ‘date-expired’ foodstuffs to Karnali region

- TULARAM PANDEY, KALIKOT

May 1, 2014-

Most foodstuffs businessmen in Surkhet and Nepalgunj supply to Karnali region are either those nearing their expiration dates or those whose expiry dates have already passed, according to local stakeholders.

“Businessmen in Surkhet and Nepalgunj deliberately supply such foodstuffs to Karnali,” said Deep Bahadur Shahi of Manma-5. He said such foodstuffs are transported to Kalikot, Jumla, and Mugu districts in Karnali without restraint as most businessmen in the region are illiterate and do not know about the expiry dates and even for the literate ones, it is not always possible to look at the validity period of each and every item they purchase. Such foodstuffs include noodles, biscuits, tea, fruit juice, beverages, spices, beaten rice and cooking oil.

“The local administration seldom inspects shops in the district headquarters but never bothers to reach villages, making it easier for traders to supply the date-expired stuffs to rural areas,” said Jagdish Chaulagain of Chandannath-5 in Jumla.

Such inspection is conducted only once a year at the initiation of local Market Inspection Committee and as a result one can rarely find a shop selling foodstuffs that have not passed their expiration dates, Chaulagain said.

“We have even destroyed stuffs worth Rs 70,000 to 80,000 from some shops,” said Assistant Chief District Officer Yam Bahadur Budhamagar, stating that they also had to endure non-cooperation from local political parties while doing so.

The administration, recently, seized and destroyed expired foodstuffs from some shops in Manma during an inspection last Sunday, Budhamagar said, adding that it was not possible to inspect markets in rural areas from the district headquarters.

Meanwhile, local businessmen complained that suppliers in Surkhet and Nepalgunj do not take back such foodstuffs citing various reasons.

“The businessmen have taken undue advantage of the ignorance of consumers in rural areas,” said Daman Raj Bam, secretary of the Kalikot branch of Nepal Bar Association.

Meanwhile, Chief District Officer (CDO) Kishor Kumar Chaudhary said they found various irregularities, including improper scales and measurements, artificial shortage and price disparity of daily essentials, during their inspections and that they were committed to control such activities.

Though a Compensation Committee chaired by the CDO has been formed under the Consumers Protection Act 1998 in the district, local administration has no record of anyone claiming for compensation.

Published: 02-05-2014 08:55

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